Sunday, 1 May 2016

International Workers' Day in the Forbury Gardens

To mark International Workers’ Day, members of the Reading Trades Union Council and Reading International Brigades Memorial Committee arranged speeches and music at the monument to Reading’s volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, located in the Forbury Gardens, Reading.

Keith Jerrome, executive member of the Reading Trades Union Council, introduced the event, explaining the tradition of 1 May as workers’ day, when issues such as trade union rights, universal health care and anti-fascist struggle are celebrated and commemorated by workers around the world.

Keith was followed by an impassioned speech from Ray Parkes, co-author of We Cannot Park on Both Sides: Reading Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39, who explained the role of Reading citizens who both fought fascism on the frontlines in Spain and also cared for fallen comrades through the provision of medical assistance during the conflict.

Nicky Jerrome, former Labour Councillor on Wokingham Borough Council, completed the event by leading all attendees in a rousing rendition of The Internationale, the anthem of world socialism.

In addition to local labour activists, a number of children joined in the event and it received an international dimension through attendance by a member of the socialist Podemos party, the third largest political grouping in the Spanish parliament.

Reading Chronicle, 5 May 2016, p.11


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